The third book by mortician and author Caitlin Doughty, “Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?” answers exactly the kind of questions its title alludes to. Known for her web series “Ask a Mortician” and as the founder of “The Order of the Good Death,” Doughty has become somewhat of an expert on the subject and history of funeral practices, and is known for injecting her unique sense of humor into what most consider an uncomfortable topic of discussion.
In “Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?” she answers questions from the most curious and candid inquirers—children. “What would happen if you die on an airplane or in space? If you die making a stupid face will it be stuck like that forever? What would happen if you ate a bag of popcorn before you died and then were cremated?”
These and more questions are addressed with honesty and humor. Doughty dispels myths surrounding Viking funerals and the post mortem growth of hair and fingernails (prepare for a surprise!). She elaborates on each answer and provides background and history for each topic, including the laws and restrictions that apply in certain situations (like why you can’t keep your parents’ skulls after they die).
Doughty shares her personal experiences as a mortician and seeks counsel from others in her field to provide the most complete, compelling answers possible.
Void of the sensitivity that adult questions regarding death tend to be shrouded with, the questions posed in this book are straightforward and sincere, though it’s easy to imagine the shock any parent might experience upon hearing one of these inquiries uttered graveside. This is precisely Doughty’s point and is at the heart of the death-positive movement that she advocates. She believes sterilizing death and discouraging the natural curiosity surrounding it only adds to the fear and misunderstanding associated with the experience every living thing will encounter.
“Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?” is morbidly funny and frank, lighthearted and informative. This book is delight for all and a must for adults who might fall victim to a barrage of childhood questions.